Ryan Miller vs. Martin Brodeur: Handicapping the Vezina Trophy
2,098. That's the number of shots Ryan Miller faced last season. 150 of those shots got past Miller and into the back of the net. Miller won the Vezina Trophy as the most outstanding goaltender during the regular season, but can he do it again this year?
Martin Brodeur will likely be the biggest challenge (again) for Miller. Even though Brodeur is approaching 40, he has shown no signs of slowing down.
Last season, he won 45 games, nine of them shutouts. In the last 11 years, Brodeur has played at least 70 games in all but one of them, and he was injured for that one year.
Drafted in the 1st round, 20th overall, in 1990, Brodeur has been a consistent work horse for New Jersey and is certainly a top contender for the Vezina this season.
We all saw how well Miller performed last year as a member of the Sabres and as a member of Team USA. But how much work can Miller take? Will he be able to relax now that all he has to focus on is the Sabres? Or will he be worn out from all of the work last season?
Miller won 41 games last season after starting 68 of them and earning five shutouts.
Many fans are especially excited about Tuukka Rask, who had excellent numbers last season. In 39 games started, Rask won 22 of them and earned five shutouts. There is one big downfall with Rask, though. He only played in 45 games last season.
Had Rask played the full season, we would've seen if he was able to keep up the pace. Now, Rask enters this year with more experience but may lose some starts to Tim Thomas. The only way Rask will be able to compete for the Vezina is if he repeats last year's performance and plays the majority of the season for the Bruins.
After giving up the captaincy, Roberto Luongo can focus on solid goaltending. Luongo earned 40 wins last year and is another strong candidate for the Vezina Trophy.
Luongo has reached the 40-win plateau twice in his career, but he was playing for Florida for five years, which may have hurt his stats.
Those are the top contenders for the Vezina, but there certainly are others who can win it. Let's hear your thoughts. Comment below with your opinion.
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